Japan announced all but one member of their roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and it predictably did not include Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda. He competed for the Japanese national team during the 2013 WBC and the 2014 Japan All-Star Series.
Maeda was named to the 2013 WBC All-Tournament Team. While speaking from the Winter Meetings last December, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club would support Maeda if he elected to pitch for Japan.
However, recent indications were Maeda, along with his Dodgers teammates Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, would skip the WBC. That’s left Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico) as the Dodgers’ lone expected participant in the upcoming tournament.
As for Maeda’s commitment to the Dodgers, the club is hopeful an offseason training program focused on building muscle mass will lead to positive results this season.
That’s not to say Maeda’s first season in the Majors wasn’t a success — he was a National League Rookie of the Year finalist — but the team is hopeful to avoid the frequency with which he is provided additional rest between starts.
The 28-year-old went 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA, 112 ERA+, 3.58 FIP and 1.14 WHIP. While Clayton Kershaw’s back injury was certainly a factor, Maeda led the Dodgers in starts (32), innings pitched (175.2) and strikeouts (179). He earned just shy of $9 million in performance bonuses.
Fatigue did appear to be a factor during the postseason, as Maeda went a combined 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts. His longest outing was four innings pitched in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.
During eight seasons pitching for Hiroshima Carp, Maeda’s career high in starts was 31, set in 2011. What’s more, he threw at least 175.2 innings in seven of eight years, including surpassing 200 innings in five seasons.